A Syllabus of (SEO) Errors – 4 Barriers to Search Engine Success in Business

Successful SEO is about more than just fixing your website and writing good content. And many businesses don’t realize this.

High rise building glass walls, three people. Liam Hennessy, Digital Strategist
Source: Charles Forerun, Unsplash

There’s no doubt that SEO is a key to growing your business.

For business leaders, this is exciting. It means more revenue. And of course, that’s what business is about.

Leaders get even more excited when they learn that there are many SEO experts and agencies out there. “Surely,” they think, “we can hire one SEO expert and our revenue will explode in a few months!”

Famous last words.

4 Barriers to SEO Success in Business

Your content needs to be relevant, helpful and engaging.

Your website needs regular, constant maintenance. Continuous improvement means regularly tracking, measuring and reporting your analytics. This workload increases as your site grows.

This involves many hands, plenty of collaboration. Gone are the days when one person could “do SEO” on your website and help you rank on the first page.

Search engine optimization is successful when it runs like a well-oiled machine.

Machines have lots of moving parts. These parts must work in sync with each other to ensure an effective and profitable SEO workflow. If not, issues will arise.

1. Probability & Variables

SEO is probabilistic and guarantees nothing.

SEO and content best practices must be applied consistently and expertly. For larger websites, it’s a lot of work. An effective SEO workflow involves:

· Linkbuilding & backlink auditing
· Traffic monitoring & reporting
· Content planning & creation
· Ongoing keyword research & content enrichment
· Alignment with other content marketing activities
·Technical optimization…

…and much more.

For websites in small, untapped niches success may come deceptively easy. Those cases are far and few between. Your business likely already inhabits a competitive market place, and probably has competitors who optimize their sites just as well – or better.

2. Ignoring Content

“Lies!” you foam. “We don’t! We know content is king!”

Yes content is king. But do you truly believe that? Or are you just repeating what that marketing agency blog with the snazzy logo told you?

Are you prepared to invest the time, money and energy into your content and media planning strategy? Are you willing to hire (at least!) two good copywriters, educate your developers in technical SEO and integrate your website into your overall marketing strategy?

This is where many marketing departments (read: businesses) falter.

Content planning, creation and distribution is work. You cannot just hire one “SEO person” and expect top-notch results.

You need to invest in a team.

3. Internal Politics

SEO is complex… But people?


On a technical level, implementing SEO is simple. You fix website issues, you publish content, you run off-page activities to gain backlinks.

In smaller companies, you don’t have enough hands.

In larger companies, you have more bureaucracy.

In both, you may have to deal with politics. And egos. And power complexes. A straightforward change on a webpage may take days or weeks to approve. A content piece may sit in preview mode. The CEO may completely ignore basic SEO guidelines, despite what the content strategist says. In the end, you’re stuck in inertia.

This adds up.

4. Lack of Resources

For large company websites, effective SEO needs a team to pull it off. And the marketing department is only the beginning. Product management, sales and even HR all have valuable information and insights which really skyrocket your success. Sometimes, you may even need a dedicated development team.

That’s already a lot.

Now add tools and resources.

Depending on the strategies you’re planning, you will likely need to invest in high-quality tools that multiple people on your team can use. Your content team will need access to analytics, and your performance team will have to jump into the CMS sometimes.

Many companies may not realize this, and then wonder why workflows are taking so long and their employees are hitting so many roadblocks.

What Can I Do?

The first step is simple: hire an SEO expert and listen to them.

Next, actually take on board what they say and invest in content marketing, performance management. Third, examine your own company’s communication processes. Are people saying “yes” for the sake of it, or are they providing a transparent, professional opinion?

Like good business, good SEO starts with people. Invest in your people and above all, listen to your experts.